Words: , Ol­ney Hymns (Lon­don: W. Ol­iv­er, 1779); the hymn has the no­ta­tion “On the com­mence­ment of hos­til­i­ties in Amer­i­ca.”

Music: This End­ris Nyght, 15th Cen­tu­ry. Al­ter­nate tunes:

  • Tallis’ Or­din­al, , cir­ca 1567
  • Windsor, , 1533

The gathering clouds, with aspect dark,
A rising storm presage;
O! to be hid within the ark,
And sheltered from its rage!

See the commissioned angel frown!
That vial in his hand,
Filled with fierce wrath, is pouring down
Upon our guilty land!

Ye saints, unite in wrestling prayer;
If yet there may be hope;
Who knows but Mercy yet may spare,
And bid the angel stop!

Already is the plague begun,
And fired with hostile rage;
Brethren, by blood and interest one,
With brethren now engage.

Peace spreads her wings, prepared for flight,
And war, with flaming sword,
And hasty strides draws nigh, to fight
The battles of the Lord.

The first alarm, alas, how few,
While distant, seem to hear!
But they will hear, and tremble too,
When God shall send it near.

So thunder, o’er the distant hills,
Gives but a murm’ring sound,
But as the tempest spreads, it fills,
And makes the welkin sound.

May we, at least, with one consent,
Fall low before the throne
With tears the nation’s sins lament,
The churches, and our own.

The humble souls who mourn and pray,
The Lord approves and knows;
His mark secures them in the day
When vengeance strikes his foes.